KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 16, 2020 (CMC) – The government of Jamaica has requested access to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), in the wake of the global COVID19 lockdown, Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, revealed in a statement, yesterday.
“The open-ended nature of the pandemic and its economic spillovers therefore, pose intolerable balance of payments risks to Jamaica, that threaten the economic gains of our seven-year reform effort,” said Dr. Clarke, who also pointed to mitigating factors that provide the ability for Jamaica to absorb economic shocks.
He said that these include reasonable stock of foreign reserves and contingency financing options that arise from: the availability of cash resources programmed for accelerated debt repayment; the availability of domestic sources of financing; and untapped capacity available from other multilateral institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, including by redirecting existing projects.
The RFI provides rapid financing to IMF member countries, with balance of payment needs, but without the requirement of having a full-fledged IMF program, ongoing reviews and conditionality.
On April 6, the IMF substantially increased the amounts that member countries could access, under the RFI window.